Each grade, in age-appropriate ways, engages in an encounter with prayer, Jewish belief and spirituality, Hebrew, the stories of the Torah and Bible, and the celebration of Jewish life through holidays, rituals and blessings.
In addition, each grade explores in depth a specific topic of Jewish life. Programs, trips, experiences in the Jewish arts and family learning accompany each grade’s program. There are many opportunities for families to engage together as a larger community, for parents to learn alongside their children, and to celebrate and worship together at our Family Shabbat services and dinners.
– Gan -
The theme for kindergarten is "My Jewish Me." Children learn about how we use “all of ourselves” in celebrating Jewish life. The study of Jewish holidays is a multi-sensory experience, filled with taste, music, learning, fragrance and joy. Each child creates a personal scrapbook, “I’ve Got That Jewish Feeling.”
– Kitah Aleph –
First graders focus on the family, "My Jewish Home," and the synagogue. They explore our synagogue building, and learn the meaning and uses of specific places and objects in our place of worship. Our children will share their new knowledge as each becomes a “docent,” guiding their parents on a synagogue tour at the end of the year.
Second Grade – Kitah Bet –
Second graders begin their journey through the world of the Torah. They study some of the extraordinary stories at the heart of the Jewish people, and discover their
messages. They will construct their own “illustrated” Torah scroll and create a beautiful handmade cover. Together with their families they participate in a Shabbat Torah ceremony.
Third Grade – Kitah Gimel
– Third graders continue study of our Jewish Bible and Hebrew while learning in-depth about ancient and Modern Israel through archeology. Special learning experiences include an archeological “dig,” a trip to The Jewish Museum, and the design and presentation of their own museum on archeology and ancient Israel. As we build and strengthen community, our third graders sleep-over at Kol Ami on a Friday night in the winter.
Fourth Grade – Kitah Dalet –
Fourth Graders study Jews around the world. The year is filled with the history, traditions, music, rhythms, religious customs and dance of different Jewish
communities around the world, such as the Sephardim of Spain and the Hassidim of Eastern Europe. Fourth graders celebrate with a special Havdallah Hispanica and a Hassidic Wedding! Fourth graders also participate in a community-building weekend retreat.
Fifth Grade – Kitah Hey -
Fifth Graders explore the cycle of Jewish Celebrations. Why do we have all these celebrations, how have they evolved and what do they mean to me? The Jewish year includes the commemoration of the Holocaust, and our fifth graders will begin an age-appropriate study of this tragic time in our history and the renewal of our people in the land of Israel. Students and parents visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a place to honor those who died by celebrating life. They will consider questions of courage and controversy and encounter stories of survival and hope. Fifth graders also participate in a community-building weekend retreat.
Sixth Grade – Kitah Vav -
Sixth Graders spend the year learning about American Jewish History: Immigration to America, Jewish Genealogy and Personal Jewish History. This pre-B'nai Mitzvah year gives our students the opportunity to place themselves within their own family’s stories as they prepare to take their place in the unfolding narrative of the Jewish people. This year culminates in a phenomenal and personal Sixth Grade Family Museum, open to the whole congregation. Sixth graders also participate in a community-building weekend retreat.
During this pre-B'nai Mitzvah year, sixth graders and parents participate together in a series of three workshops, led by our clergy, to help guide and begin the journey together. Included as part of this series is a Shabbat morning service and brunch.
Seventh Grade – Kitah Zayin -
Seventh Graders participate in Mesorah-Choosing Your Commitment: Embracing and Reinterpreting a Living Tradition. In Pirkei Avot 1:2 we find inspiration to reframe and focus our learning. "...Upon three things the world stands: on Torah, on Avodah (prayer) and on Gemilut Chasadim (kindness to others)." Using the lens of these three entryways, students will be offered a broad range of experiences to better prepare for both B'nai Mitzvah and for living a Jewish life. Over the course of the year, each student selects courses from the overarching themes. Courses are designed to be engaging, interesting and to encourage exploration of Jewish values in new and creative ways.
Seventh graders also study The Life Cycle: From Mohel to Mortuary. They learn about the Jewish traditions and customs surrounding these rituals and explore the holy in life’s moments. Along with eighth graders, students have the opportunity to select and participate in a variety of electives that connect to Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chasadim. These may include cooking, improvisation, music and Hebrew. T'fillah (prayer) is a regular component of our Wednesday evening program. During this time, seventh graders will be able to practice Hebrew skills and prepare to lead a service with one of our clergy.
Eighth Grade – Kitah Chet -
Eighth graders study individual Jewish identity and the study of the Shoah, engaging in powerful introspection, using lessons of history to understand personal choice and building a code of ethics. As part of ourgrowing dialogue, eighth graders and parents visit the New York Tolerance Center. During the first half of the year, eighth graders, along with seventh graders, select and participate in a variety of electives that connect to Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chasadim. These may include cooking, improvisation, music and Hebrew. An integral part of year is devoted to the creation, design and preparation to lead the synagogue’s Yom HaShoah service for the entire community, in commemoration of the Holocaust.